Is Your Regret Causing Anxiety? Understand Your Regret

Portland Therapy Ideal for Understanding Regret About One’s Ideal Self

Regret can be painful, even debilitating. People plagued by regret may feel guilt or shame about what could have been. They can even develop symptoms of depression or anxiety. Yet regret in life is inevitable. No one is able to live up to every goal they set.

A new study published in the journal of Emotion explores the psychological underpinnings of regret. Researchers found regret stings the most when people fail to live up to their idealized selves. Regret about duties and obligations is less painful. Although regret about one’s idealized self is often more painful, participants were less likely to take proactive steps to live up to idealized versions of themselves.

Three Components of A Person’s Self

The research used six studies to survey hundreds of participants about their feelings of regret. The study draws upon the notion that there are three components of a person’s self: the actual self, the ideal self, and the ought self.

  • The actual selfis who a person believes they are.
  • The ideal selfis who a person wishes they were. The ideal self includes dreams for the future and goals for living up to values. It also includes traits a person wishes they had.
  • The ought selfis who a person thinks they should be. The ought self is more focused on obligations, such as holding down a job. Regrets involve failures to live up to these duties.

Researchers asked participants what kind of regrets they had most often. Most participants (72%) listed regrets about their ideal self. Only 28% of people listed regrets about their ought self. When people were asked to name their biggest regret in life, 76% mentioned a regret about their ideal selves.

This finding suggests regrets about the ideal self may be more painful. They may also be more likely to contribute to an overall feeling of regret.

Coping With Regret Helps By Knowing Selves

The study also found people are more likely to take steps to correct regrets related to their ought self than to their ideal self. This trend may be because ought-self regrets often involve explicit criteria. Fixing duty-related regrets can often be corrected with specific steps.  For example, if a student regrets doing poorly in class, they can resolve to raise their grade through studying.

Meanwhile, regrets involving one’s ideal self tend to be vaguer. A person may have a dream to “be adventurous” or “be a great parent.” Yet such goals rarely have a concrete way to mark success. Without a clear destination, many people wait for inspiration to guide them toward these goals. If inspiration doesn’t come, a person may let opportunities pass them by.

Fear of how the pursuit of a good life might look to others may also hold people back. That’s doubly true when there’s a conflict between a person’s ideal self and ought self. For instance, a person may wish to go on a backpacking trip with their child. But they may turn down the trip so they do not miss any work and appear “unmotivated” to colleagues. In this scenario, the person prioritizes the work duties of their ought self above the parenting dreams of their ideal self.

A trained therapist can help people cope with regret. They may help a person explore ways to build self-compassion and self-esteem. In therapy, a person can also learn goal-setting skills to help them grow into their ideal selves. If you’re interested in learning how to cope with regret or in need of anxiety therapy, make an appointment at my Portland office.

June 15, 2018 • Contributed by Zawn Villines, GoodTherapy.org 

References:

  1. Davidai, S. & Gilovich, T. (2018). The ideal road not taken: The self-discrepancies involved in people’s most enduring regrets. Emotion,18(3), 439-452. 
  2. Woulda, coulda, shoulda: The haunting regret of failing our ideal selves. (2018, May 29). 

Portland Life Coaching Tip to Boost Your Happiness

 Your Social Life May Be Key to Boosting Your Happiness

The quest for a better quality of life is a common one. Some people believe if they reach a certain goal, they will finally be satisfied with life. But not being able to achieve these goals may make people feel even worse.

A study in Psychological Science suggests some strategies for happiness may work better than others. The pursuit of a better life need not include endless efforts at self-improvement. Instead, the study says people who make social goals are more likely to have greater happiness a year later.

A Life Coaching Key to Happiness : More Time With Others?

Portland Life Coaching Tip to Boost Happiness With Social Life In 2014, the study gathered data on 1,178 German adults. Participants were gathered from the nationally representative German Socio-Economic Panel Study.

The study asked participants to rank their life satisfaction on a scale of 0 to 10. A score of 0 meant completely dissatisfied, and 10 stood for completely satisfied. The study also asked participants how happy they thought they would be in 5 years.

Then the study asked to list their strategies for a happier future. About half (596) had no set strategy. Some claimed they could not do anything to improve their lives. Others said something outside of their control—such as a different political climate—would improve their lives.

The other half (582) provided a specific strategy for greater happiness. Most of those who set goals (398) mentioned an individual goal such as quitting smoking. The remainder (184) said doing something social—spending more time with family or friends or helping others—might make them happier.

A year later, participants again rated their life satisfaction. People who listed a social strategy reported greater life satisfaction the second time they were surveyed. People with individual goals showed about the same level of satisfaction as before. There were no significant differences between people who had an individual strategy and those who had no plan at all.

Further analysis revealed the group with social goals had increased happiness partially because they socialized more with others during the year. This finding suggests people who want to improve their lives might benefit from focusing on their relationships with others. Setting only self-improvement goals might be no better than setting no goals at all.

The study’s authors emphasize that further research is necessary to assess the long-term effects of goal setting. Future research may measure why some happiness strategies might work better than others.

Life coaching can help people achieve their goals, offering a chance at a better life. It can also help nurture relationships and improve social connections. If you are interested in how life coaching can help better your life, make an appointment at my Portland area office.

June 8, 2018 • Contributed by Zawn Villines, GoodTherapy.org 

References:

  1. Rohrer, J. M., Richter, D., Brummer, M., Wagner, G. G., & Schmukle, S. C. (2018, May 18). Successfully striving for happiness: Socially engaged pursuits predict increases in life satisfaction. 
  2. Social pursuits linked with increased life satisfaction. (2018, May 29). 

Is Your Family Losing Sleep?

Sleep Deprivation Linked to Depression & Addiction in Teens

Sleep is an important part of general health, both teens and adults as seen below .

Depression can stem from lack of sleep in adolescents & family.Adolescents who don’t get enough sleep are more vulnerable to depression and addiction, according to research presented at the 56th Annual Meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP).

Previous research supports this conclusion. Research published in 2010 found a link between adolescent depression and sleep deprivation. In that study of 262 high scholars, more than half experienced excessive sleepiness and fatigue. The sleepy students were three times more likely to show strong depression symptoms than their rested peers. Continue reading

3 Things Your Therapist Wants You to Do Before Couples Therapy Begins

How to Survive Before Couples Therapy Begins

Suggestions to cope before therapy begins at Buckman couples therapy.From my many years as a couples therapist, I have learned one of the most difficult phases of the work is when a couple has committed to repairing their marriage, but before the repair has begun.

It’s an important time: you and your partner have decided to go to couples therapy, so you’ve researched local counselors and booked an appointment. But your first session hasn’t happened yet and you’re still feeling distressed, disconnected, or dissatisfied.

Some models of relationship counseling have specific tasks for this stage, such as the online relationship assessment for the Prepare/Enrich program. Therapists may also have their own preferred assessment measures, such as the classic Dyadic Adjustment Scale or the newer Gottman Relationship Checkup.

But these assessments are meant to inform your therapist about where to start treatment, about the issues and dynamics contributing to conflict or distress. They don’t help you and your partner get through the days or weeks until your first appointment with any more peace or patience.

So what should you be doing? Thinking about? Paying attention to? Here are three things I ask of couples seeing me for the first time, before therapy begins:

1. PREVENT FURTHER DAMAGE
To prevent further damage, do your best to stop unhealthy patterns of interaction that are causing distress in the relationship. There has been enough conflict already. In other words, it’s important to bring your best self to every exchange so you don’t heap problems on top of problems.
You’ve committed to therapy to make positive changes, and they can start right now.

For example, if you’re used to yelling at each other, preventing further damage means keeping your volume low and your tone pleasant. If you’ve been sleeping in separate rooms, preventing further damage means respecting the boundaries each of you have set to avoid distress.

2. PRIORITIZE SELF-CARE
To prioritize self-care is to choose behaviors that nourish your body and spirit. The road to relationship health through therapy may be long and difficult, so it’s important to prepare yourself mentally and physically. Prioritizing self-care means taking good care of yourself.

If you find yourself back in a familiar dance of hurt feelings, miscommunication, or bad habits, remember to prevent further damage.

Here are seven ways to be intentional about self-care:
Eat fresh, healthy foods.
Drink plenty of water.
Rest when you are tired.
Prioritize sufficient, uninterrupted sleep.
Exercise and stretch your body.
Seek joy through the arts (music, comedy, theater/movies, art).
Soak up love from supportive relationships (children, friends, family).
You may realize it’s been a while since you were intentional about caring for yourself. Don’t worry—self-care can start right now.

3. PRACTICE INTROSPECTION
No matter which theory of couples therapy your therapist is trained in—Emotionally Focused Therapy, Imago, and the Gottman Method may be the most well-known for their evidence-based practice—one of the primary ways your therapist will intervene in your distress is to help you and your partner think and feel differently about what is happening. These skills of perspective taking don’t come naturally to all of us, but there are ways to practice before therapy begins.

One way to practice introspection is to think about your experience from a new perspective. I’ve written previously about the power of therapy to shift your point of view, and the metaphor can help before therapy even begins. Ask yourself: What are the ways I understand or explain what is happening in my relationship? Are there alternative ways to understand it, even if I don’t agree with them? How does my partner explain what is happening? Are we looking at things from the balcony or the dance floor? What might I see if I look from the other perspective?

Another way to practice introspection is to become familiar with the idea of mindfulness. Yoga, guided imagery, apps like Headspace or Calm, or spending intentional time in nature are readily available ways to bring mindfulness into your life.

When you are ready to start the process of couples therapy, make an appointment at my Buckman area office.

Courtesy of Good Therapy.

 

Danger of “if then” thinking

Can Life Coaching Help with ‘If Then’ Thinking?

Have you ever had the thought of “If I (fill in the blank), then (fill in in the blank)” or “once I…, then I’ll…”

Choices in life coaching Portland-If I move to another city, then I’ll be happy.

-Once I get this together, then I’ll be able to do this.

-Once I turn 50, then I’ll buy myself that car.

-Once I have enough experience then I can start that new project.

-If I ever win the lottery, then I’ll buy my dream home.

-Once I start therapy/coaching/medication, I’ll feel better.

Do any of these sound familiar? What are some other ones that you may find yourself thinking? Continue reading

A few shifts from arguing

Life Coaching Tips to Avoid Arguments

If you notice getting into an argument/ yelling match and it feels all too familiar, here are a few steps to help shift the dynamic:

  1. Change your posture. Chances are if you’re in an argument your face is scrunched, brow furrowed, and holding your breath. Take a moment to change your posture- stretch your arms out and back, expose your chest some, stretch side to side, roll your neck
  2. Breath deeply. Blow all your air out and hold it. Take a full breath in
  3. Life sometimes needs coaching tips for arguments.Notice if you are defensive. Are you looking to explain why you are right and they are wrong? If yes, admit you are there and know that most likely from this place you know how it plays out. Stop if you are defensive. 
  4. Ask yourself if you can see this person as your ally. 
  5. If not, take a break. To paraphrase Einstein, a problem can’t be solved in the same mindset it was created in. Do not expect to solve it if you don’ t shift your mindset that started the argument.

This is of course just a few options with short explanations. There is certainly more exploration to this and it is a start.

Cheers to more life and connection in your relationship. With life coaching we can work on any relationships and tips for your life. Contact me for more details.

Compliments to Marcolm at freedigitalphotos.net

How I work with people: part 4

Things to Love About Coaching Homework

Another word on homework. I often have people come in having not done their homework. It is not my job to shame you, I find that people do that enough without adding any more. We can explore what occurred that you didn’t do it. Although, I often find that a couple of things can happen when people haven’t “done” their homework:

  1. they did and just didn’t realize it
  2. they explored something else that had meaning to them
  3. what was homework, didn’t show up for them so they didn’t have the opportunity to explore it
  4. there was hesitation to facing into the homework and then the work is to explore that.

LGTBQ-friendly coaching homework Portland.The thing I love about homework is that the therapy or coaching session is not just this isolated event, a bubble of time for you to focus on you. Granted it is time for you, sometimes the only place people have to be listened to, connect with another and heard fully. Homework is a thread that connects the sessions together. It is a time for you to continue your intention to work on your goals outside of the walls of my Portland office. It is practice in “real time” in your “real life.”

To get started with your homework contact me to start your Portland coaching sessions with an LGTBQ-friendly therapist.

Photo compliments of Mister GC at freedigitalphotos.net

How I work with people part 3

What is Counseling Homework?

In counseling and coaching, people may come in wanting to be “fixed.” That is not my job. It is also not how I see people. I see people as whole, yes you are on a journey and there may be things that you want changed (that is why people come see me because they want something changed and don’t know how to go about making the changes). And you are not broken or messed up or completely shattered, you are whole just as you are in the midst of the challenges that you are facing.

Often times the steps may be small. People often don’t take a gigantic leap. More often than not, it is a baby step by baby step and sometimes  it may feel like you’re either going backwards Counseling homework for Portland, Oregon LGBT friendly therapist.or falling down. Sometimes the sessions are not a nicely wrapped present with a beautiful bow on top. Sometimes they end in a way that feels very undone. This can also be a time when a lot of change can happen, as you sit with what’s going on.

I do like to give homework, I have adolescents who call it something else since they have enough homework from school- growth opportunity, advancement protocol, something to think about. The homework, or whatever you choose to call it, is something that was explored in the session. Of course that is not always the case, sometimes people want to inquire into something completely different. Either way, I ask if you have ideas and I can toss out some ideas as well. You get to decide what you want to do. The concept of homework is to keep you thinking, exploring, delving into, to keep your intention and attention on movement, to be aware of how you are in the world so that what “just happens” will become conscious and therefore you have a choice in the matter.

Are you ready to work on your counseling? Contact me for area Portland, Oregon LGBT friendly counseling.

Photo compliments of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

How I work with people in coaching and therapy: part 2

Questions are Part of Relationship Coaching

This is part two in an attempt to describe how I work with people.

Once we’ve set up a full session, I will send you some paperwork. It may feel completely tedious. And it is quite a bit of paperwork. Some of it is history, some of it is gathering more details about what’s going on. A big part of it is also about your goals, and how you know when you will be done with either coaching or therapy. I see both relationship coaching and therapy as a way to learn skills,Questions are the next step in relationship coaching Portland! to make changes and shifts in your life so that you can go out and do these things on your own. Goals give us a guide. They give us something to work toward, so that we are not just floundering around meeting after meeting without making steps towards what you want.

The first session is often me asking you a lot of questions. I am gathering information about what is going on, what has been going on, and what you are wanting as you move forward. The first session is not typical of how I work with people. It is you talking more and me asking more questions.

In subsequent sessions, I am more active. I see us as collaborators. I am a professional. I have a license. I go to continuing education courses. You are the expert on you. This is an on going conversation, back and forth. I am not just going to sit and listen. I am an active participant in our sessions, asking questions, gently challenging, throwing out ideas that may or may not land with you. And I am open to feedback. That is also important for you to know. If you are not getting what you want, say something to me. It doesn’t help to vent to your friend or even just stop coming. Let’s have a conversation about it. I don’t want it to be a waste of your time or your money. If I am not able to provide the support you are looking for I can give you referrals.

If you have more questions about relationship coaching services I offer in Portland – call!

Photo compliments of punsayaporn at Freedigitalphotos.net

How I work with people in coaching and therapy: part 1

Portland LGTBQ Coaching Consultation

Often times people will come and not know what to expect. I thought this might be a good platform to talk about that.

What to expect in a coaching consultation for Portland LGTBQ clients.I offer a free 20 minute coaching consultation. During this, I meet with people briefly. We don’t necessarily get into the nitty-gritty of what’s going on. I see it more as a meet and greet. It gives both of us an idea of the other person, to find out if we may be a good fit. This gives you a chance to share what you are looking for in a therapist and what issues you are working on to determine if I may able to work with you.

One of the main things to consider doing a consultation or a first meeting, is to ask yourself if you can see yourself trusting this person. A therapeutic or coaching relationship is like any other relationship, it takes time to build trust. You may end up talking about very intimate things. And trust is part of the foundation.  I certainly don’t expect you to trust me in the first 5 or even 20 minutes, or even the first several sessions. What I do ask is, do you see yourself being able to trust me with the intimate details of your life. Do you trust me to guide you on this journey towards your goals?

Make a consultation appointment today! I offer coaching for Portland area LGTBQ and ally clients.

Compliments of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net